The Guru’s Everlasting Grace
Reminiscing the blessed moments of life, five siblings recall encounters with H.H Parijñānāshram Swāmījī III - Collated by Mrs. Padmā Beṭrabeṭ pāchī
Om Shri Gurubhyo Namaha
Om Shri Bhavanishankaraya Namaha
Om Shri Maatre Namaha
Jai Guru Parampara!
It is said that when a Guru is born in a family that family is blessed for many generations and also the entire samāja is blessed by Guru’s mārgadarshana towards spiritual practice to get the four Purus͟͟hārtha-s Dharma, Artha, Kāma, Moks͟ha. Members of our family reminisce about how we were touched by our Guru’s grace at different points in our life, and how those blessings continue to inspire us to live our lives in sevā, inspired by our Guru.
H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī ’s early years
Recollections by Shashikānt Shukla ( Pūrvāshrama brother of H.H.Parijñānāshram Swāmījī )
My parents, Shukla Shaṅkar Nārāyaṇa and Shānti (nee Kāikiṇi) got married in Shirālī. Ravindra was born on June 15th, 1947. As an elder brother, He was ever kind, loving, and protective. Ravindra would hold my bag when going to school every day at Ānandīlāl Poddār School in Bombay. His favorite teacher was Mrs. Isaac. Ravindra’s good friends were Bālu Rokḍe, Aruṇ Kāmat, and Ajit Parab. Ravindra was fond of playing bhugri (wooden top) and marbles. He would challenge me to name the models of passing vehicles and was very fond of identifying the different models of cars. This was a favorite game we both played while watching the cars go by the place where we lived.
Every year during our summer vacation, the entire family used to visit Shirālī, where Ākkamakkā (Nandu Mhāntu’s aka SCR Bhaṭ mām’s mother) used to live. She was a powerful lady, very strict but very kind too. We would visit her at Shirālī often.
In 1955, my father had a dream in which a saint appeared and asked him to give up his first child. He flatly refused and told the saint to go away. The next morning after he woke up, he told my mother about the dream and was feeling very sorry that he had flatly refused. He accompanied her to Datta Mandira at Vākolā and there he cried his heart out and prayed at the pādukā-s. My mother too in her dream received a darshana from a 7-headed serpent.
Early years and H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī ’s visit to our home:
Memories of Padmā Beṭrabeṭ (nee Kamalā Kalliāṇpur)
As children we used to visit Shirālī during our summer vacation to meet all our cousins - my mother’s siblings were Shrī Shaṅkar Nārāyaṇa Shukla (Shaṅkaṇṇā mām) and Smt Sumati Kāpnāḍak from Mumbaī. Our Ājjā, Shukla Laks͟hmaṇ used to feel very happy to meet all his children and grandchildren. We too felt great happiness surrounded by elders, basking in their attention, and spending time with our cousins. My maternal uncle, Shaṅkaṇṇā mām and his wife Shānti māmī, and their sons Ravi and Shashi happened to be there when we visited one summer. It was our first meeting with both cousins. They never spoke much with us girls, but my brothers would play with them. These boys were friendly and always smiling. Dear Shānti māmī would supervise our shloka and stotra-chanting every evening when lanterns were lit at dusk.
They would recite shloka-s, “parvaḍī” of naks͟hatra names and names of months, etc. and we cousins would visit the Mat͟h, attend pūjā, āratī, and return after H.H Ānandāshram Swāmījī’s darshana. One day after lunch we were all given mangoes to eat. Shānti māmī came and told me that she could not find her boys, and needed help to find them. We searched in the backyard under the mango trees and jackfruit trees where the boys spent time playing but they were not to be seen there. After all the places were searched, we found them in the upstairs room facing the field, “gāddo” where the Ratha was kept. Ravi, eating the mango and viewing the beautiful greenery outside with his younger brother Shashi beside him, were looking in awe, watching the Ratha which was housed near the fields. We were surprised at how they had managed to climb up the stairs since it did not even have a proper railing. There was only one strong rope tied to the roof and was let down the stairs for support. One had to hold the rope carefully to climb up the stairs.
In 1958 H.H. Ānandāshram Swāmījī, after scrutinizing horoscopes of several prospective Shis͟hya-s, had chosen Ravindra Shukla - my cousin - as the ideal Shis͟hya. The Shis͟hya swīkāra in 1959 was attended by 10000 people, and was a time for jubilation, and also great relief that our Guruparamparā would continue. It was with great admiration that the samāja viewed the young Swāmījī, all of 11 years of age. Travelling was difficult those days, but for the Shis͟hya swīkāra, my mother Shāntābāī Kalliāṇpur travelled to Bombay along with my younger sisters. I could not accompany them at the time. However, later in 1976, when I visited Shirālī with my family during Teru, I had H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī ’s darshana from a distance. Our younger daughter Gāyathri was 5 and Gowri was 7 years old. I recall Gāyathri being scared of the wāghā vesu dance at Pañchavaṭī.
July 1984 was the most memorable and the best time for me and my family. We had completed the construction of our house and had just moved in. My father Umesh Bhaṭ Kalliāṇpur suggested that we should invite H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī (who was at that time camping in BeṅgaῙūru) to bless us and our home. On the appointed day, H.H. Swāmījī visited our house along with NāimpaῙῙy Bālchandra mām, Suniti pāchī, my brother Ānand, his wife Aparṇā and other relatives. As luck would have it, Shaṅkaṇṇā mām and Shānti māmī (Pūrvāshrama parents
July 1984 was the most memorable and the best time for me and my family. We had completed the construction of our house and had just moved in. My father Umesh Bhat Kallianpur suggested that we should invite Parama Pujya Shri Parijnanashram Swamiji (who was at that time camping in Bangalore) to bless us and our home. On the appointed day, Pujya Swamiji visited our house along with Naimpally Balchandra mam, Suniti pacchi, my brother Anand, his wife Aparna and other relatives. As luck would have it, Shankanna mam and Shanti mami (Purvaashram parents of Parijnanashram Swamiji), were holiday with us. Rava idli, chutney, masala vada, sanjeera were served. The presence of mam, mami and my father helped us to follow due protocol. We felt very happy. My husband did pada prakshalan and garlanded Swamiji to welcome Him into the house, and then performed pada pooja and aarati. Swamiji blessed us and named our house ‘Gurukrupa’. Though Swamiji did not speak, their radiance, grace, and smiling face was a source of comfort and bliss. The blissful time spent in their presence is ever fresh in my memory.
As I chant the Shrī Parijñānāshram Trayodashī during my daily prayers, these memories flash before my eyes. I recall our Guru with reverence, and also how, His ideal Shis͟hya, H.H. Sadyojāt Shaṅkarāshram Swāmījī led our samāja in a prāyashchitta by doing Guru Jyoti Yātrā with a thousand people walking 91 miles to bring Guru Swāmījī ’ s revered pādukā-s and enshrining them at Shrī Chitrāpur Mat͟h, Shirālī, next to H.H. Ānandāshram Swāmījī ’s Samādhi. This gave great solace to all devotees after a tumultuous period in our samāja filled with sadness and hurt.
The Thirteen verses on the attributes of H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī III were written by a Saṁskṛt scholar at the request of H.H. Sadyojāt Shaṅkarāshram Swāmījī, which even a small child of Prārthanā Varga recites with elders today.
As per the wish of H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī, the Teru which they started in 1973 continues and is being celebrated every year. Thus, I feel Swāmījī ’s grace continues to guide, bless and protect us.
Memories of H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī III ’s visit to my ailing mother
As narrated by Suvarṇā Paṇḍit (nee Suvarṇā Kalliāṇpur) Pūrvāshrama paternal cousin of H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī III
This was in Nov 1989, when my mother, Smt. Shāntābāī Kalliāṇpur (nee Shukla), was very unwell and was admitted to Rāmaiāh Hospital in BeṅgaῙūru. At the time, H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī were residing in BeṅgaῙūru. Hearing about my mother’s health, Swāmījī came to the hospital to meet her. My mother had lost her eyesight by then, but could recognise people by their voice. Swāmījī came and held her hand and said, “Shānti, I have come to see you.” She immediately recognised Swāmījī ’s voice and asked only one question, “When will I go back home?” Swāmījī replied, “You will definitely go back home on Thursday.” We were all very happy to hear this and started making preparations to take her home after her discharge from the hospital.
In the early hours of Thursday, my mother told my sister, Mrs. Padmā Beṭrabeṭ, that someone has arrived at the door and could see a bright light. My sister was shocked to hear this as it was only 3 a.m. and quite dark. Suddenly mother started gasping for breath, doctors were summoned and they tried their best to revive her but could not, and she was no more. This happened on 30th Nov 1989 (Thursday). Swāmījī had told my mother that she will definitely go home on Thursday but we did not know that this was what He meant.
H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī ’s visit to our humble abode…..twice
Memories shared by Umesh and Vimalā Honnāvar (nee Vimalā Kalliāṇpur) Pūrvāshrama paternal cousin of H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī
In April 1978, we moved into our new home in BeṅgaῙūru. It was our ardent desire that the footfall of saintly personalities into the house sanctify the space. Within a short period of time, as if our humble prayers were answered, the news of the arrival of H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī at BeṅgaῙūru reached us. We then approached our family friend Vidyānand Mullerpaṭaṇ and expressed our wish to have H.H. Swāmījī ’s visit to our humble abode and grace us all with Their divine presence and blessings. To our immense joy, after a few days, we were informed that H.H. Swāmījī had given consent for the same.
Immediately thereafter, we informed all our close relatives, and there was great excitement and joy amongst one and all. On the day before the arrival, all preparations were made to receive Swāmījī . Womenfolk got busy preparing snack items of phalāhāra to be offered to revered Swāmījī. We got ready with pūjana sāmagrī to be offered as samarpaṇam to Him.
It was a red-letter day for the Honnāvar Family with about 20-22 members in attendance to receive H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī at our house. Swāmījī was accorded Pūrṇa Kumbha Swāgata at the entrance of the residence with chanting of mantra-s by dear Ramesh Bhaṭ mām Kalliāṇpur and Pāda praks͟hālana of Pūjya Guruvarya’s holy feet was done by our father Ganesh Honnavar as the head of the family. Thereafter, our revered Guru was led inside the house and was seated on the chair with āsana. Phalasamarpaṇa and garlands were offered to Swāmījī by my dear Ānnu and I could discern from the face of Ānnu the kṛtārtha bhāva and joy which was an indescribable one.
H.H. Swāmījī spent about 25 minutes with us and all other family members were then introduced to Him followed by HIS blessings. H.H. Swāmījī was accompanied by His Secretary, Shrī Appu Mām and dear Vidyānand Mullerpaṭaṇ who took photographs of the event, which are filed in our family album. H.H. Swāmījī on the same day, had earlier graced the newly constructed house of Mullerpaṭaṇ Sitāram Rāo family, a close relative of ours, located close by. From there, He arrived at our residence and we all had HIS divine presence and blessings. H.H. Swāmījī ’s visit to our Humble abode is still etched in our mind and has remained evergreen to this day.
I was serving my posting at Hospeṭ in the year 1982. In the month of May/June, I received a call from Shrī Gurunāth Haridās mām informing us that H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī III would be visiting us at Hospeṭ the following day, from BeῙῙāry. He said that the visit was for few hours and H.H. Swāmījī would partake Bhiks͟hā at our place. The only other bhānap family which was residing at Hospeṭ at that point in time was Shrī Uday Koppikar. Both I and Vimalā were immensely happy to have the rare privilege of offering Bhiks͟hā Sevā and having H.H.Swāmījī ’s sānnidhya at our place even if it was for just a few hours. The other Bhānap was Benegal Jagadish, who was serving as manager of Syndicate Bank, HagaribommanahaῙῙi, HarapanahaῙῙi Tālukā about 50 kms away. In the evening after returning from the Bank, I informed both about the visit and to be present at our house on the following morning to welcome H.H Swāmījī. Later we both got busy in preparations for the ensuing visit including light snacks, fruits, flowers, and garlands to be offered to the revered Guru Māulī.
H.H. Swāmījī arrived by car at our residence mid-morning from BeῙῙāry after a drive of about 1 1/2 hours accompanied by Gurunāth mām. After doing pāda praks͟hālana, we all offered our praṇāma-s to H.H. Swāmījī. Swāmījī made kind enquiry of each one of us and later blessed us with his ever-loving smile. Thereafter H.H. Swāmījī rested and later had Bhiks͟hā with all love. During the course of the conversation,
He also enquired about the well-being of dear Shānti Pāchī and Umesh Mām (paternal aunt and uncle from pūrvāshrama ). We both then informed Him about our eldest daughter Deepāli’s staying with them at BeṅgaῙūru for the continuation of her studies and sought blessings for her.
After some rest, H.H. Swāmījī left for BeῙῙāry to continue with the journey to BeṅgaῙūru. Before the departure, we had photographs taken with Swāmījī which we still keep in our album as the fondest memory of His visit to Hospeṭ.
Even to this day, when I recollect fondly the visit of H.H. Swāmījī, I visualise the enormity of HIS kindness and compassion to his devotees by way of showering blessings. Indeed, my family and I are overwhelmed and deeply grateful to HIM forever.
Memories of Poorṇimā Kalyāṇpur
I was given mantra dīks͟hā when I was studying in first year graduation in 1973. During that time, we performed a drama in BeṅgaῙūru. “Chikkalāntulai KamaῙa” was performed under the able direction of Narendra Kalyāṇpur. Swāmījī desired that this play be performed in Shirālī during the ensuing Teru. Thereafter, we could get Swāmījī ’s presence in Sanṭācruz in Shānti māmi’s house, several times, and thereafter in Virār at Dr. Maṅkekar’s. We never missed an opportunity to seek Swāmījī ’s presence. In Mumbaī, Swāmījī spoke to enquire about our well-being.
H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī’s visit to our temple and our humble abode
Memories of Ānand Kalliāṇpur ( Pūrvāshrama paternal cousin of H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī )
When I stayed in Shirālī for some months as a vidyārthi in Shukla Durgādās mām’s house, I would go to the Chitrāpur Mat͟h to learn pūjā vidhi and mantra-s. Sometimes Nimmu māmī would prepare chapāti-s and send it through me to H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī who would relish them. I was very happy with this small opportunity to meet Swāmījī.
In 1978 when we built a house in Rajājinagar, we were graced with Swāmījī ’s visit to our place and bless it with the name of Mātṛchāyā. Swāmījī also blessed our baby son with his name, Ashwin. The next time our Swāmījī visited, 8-year-old Ashwin garlanded Swāmījī and we were all blessed with Swāmījī ’s smiling grace. Ashwin is now a reputed surgeon in Chaṇḍigarh.
During the Golden Jubilee (1988) of Shrī Rādhākṛs͟hṇā temple in Malleshwaram constructed by our Ājjā, Ved. Visweshwar Bhaṭ, H.H. Parijñānāshram Swāmījī visited our temple for 5 days and blessed us all with an Āshīrvachana. I used to take my car to NāimpaῙῙy Bālachandra mām’s house to bring Swāmījī for the functions. During the visit to our temple, Swāmījī used to rest in Pappā’s (Umesh Kalliāṇpur’s) house. After serving phalāhāra, I was waiting outside the room, when Swāmījī called me inside and asked me to click a photo - which I had been secretly wishing in my heart. I was very happy.
Our family has been blessed through our encounters - all of them memorable because we have been touched by our Guru’s grace. We feel fortunate that each of us is able to continue our Sevā towards our Guruparamparā, by officiating pūjā-s in the BeṅgaῙūru Mat͟h, or as prārthanā teachers or Saṁskṛt teachers. Throughout we preserve memories of our H.H Parijñānāshram Swāmījī during our sevā, and are guided by the force and enthusiasm of our H.H. Sadyojāt Shaṅkarāshram Swāmījī.